Leaders across the globe are under closer scrutiny than ever.
From Trump to Brexit, every version of leadership at an international level is being tested to the limit with highly negative results. Organisations are not faring much better; from Carillion to Cambridge Analytica, there are examples of incompetent leadership ranging to outright criminality.
What is to be done?
Executive coaching in recent times has turned increasingly to personal transformation and relationship theories , highlighting the significance of emotional, even spiritual, intelligence in effective leadership. According to Erik de Haan executive coaching is the strategy par excellence for enabling effective relational leadership. Authentic and ethical leadership have been buzz words for some time.
A recent publication (which we intend to review in this blog in future) on Leading Beyond the Ego
“provides a journey for leaders to develop into Transpersonal Leaders through managing both their ego and their emotions, by increasing their awareness and bringing their values to full consciousness”, suggesting that at the heart of current examples of leadership there is a canker, a worm that is to do with unchecked ego aggrandisement.
However executive coaching does well to stand back from the buzz, whatever the particular fashion of the time. At its best it contrasts the impact of different models , inviting leaders to be more self-conscious, more self-critical, aware of their impact on others, clear about their own values, ready to accept the challenges of consistency. Its role is not to provide the right ways of ‘doing leadership’, but to enable time to think: about what are the characteristics of effective leaders and the impact of different leadership styles in different situations, for example.
A recent publication for health leaders by the influential Hay Group, lists six different styles of leadership: Directive; Visionary; Affiliative; Participative; Pace-setting and Coaching.
Executive coaching can show their potential and their limitations, but it rises above the ‘do this , don’t do that’ approach of many pundits.
For leaders with only one forward gear and a fixed accelerator pedal, whose self-awareness is zero, and a couldn’t-care-less attitude to their impact on others, executive coaching may be just the ticket.